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Tintern, Wales

Tintern Abbey

This well-preserved Cistercian Abbey in a romantic pastoral setting has inspired artists like the poet Wordsworth. 

Tintern Abbey is an extremely well-preserved Cistercian Abbey in a mysterious and romantic setting. The monks who lived at Tintern followed the Rule of St. Benedict. The buildings that remain to be explored were originally constructed between 1136 and 1536.  

Set along the bank of the River Wye, nestled amongst misty green mountains and surrounded by beautiful Welsh villages and countryside, this vast, imposing structure and its pastoral setting has been inspiring artists, like the painter Turner and the poet Wordsworth, since its “rediscovery” in the 18th century.

The Abbey lends itself to several hours of exploration, and is situated on a hiking trail that extends throughout the Wye River Valley, even stretching across the Welsh-English border, which can be seen from the Abbey itself. A number of structures remain to be explored, from the cathedral to the monks’ living quarters, and signs and materials available at the visitor’s center offer a wealth of context to those who are interested, really bringing the ruins to life.

A visit to the Abbey guarantees exceptional natural beauty, astounding historical perspective, and a jolt to one’s imagination. 

Know Before You Go

The Abbey is best reached by car, and there is plenty of parking, though if the weather is exceptional expect crowds. That being said, pack an umbrella, as rain is common and very few sections of the Abbey are still roofed. It is possible to reach the Abbey by bus from nearby Chepstow (where there is a train station with connections to larger Welsh cities), but beware of limited service on Sundays. Admission concessions are available for students and the elderly.